Monday, April 16, 2012

Vociferous Vacillations

(A Discourse on Presenting at the Denver Convention for Dabrowski, or not)


Cognitive dissonance stews in one. It keeps you awake. It batters about the brain. The state of indecision is a chaotic interference of variables, barely able to be buttoned down in any given moment. What to do?

Some of us are silent with our deliberations. Others of us are very noisy. And some, of course, slip about somewhat unnoticed in-between. The silent one mulls over the probabilities until there is a clarity of decision. The noisy one involves everyone else (possibly as I am doing by writing this much) until the wealth of other's opinions produces a more secure path than going it alone. And for those of us slip-sliding more quietly between the proverbial pros and cons of the decisions we have to make, there is, for me at least, a series of sensitivities to the symbols that may direct my course, as well as a whole gamut of metacognitive check-ins. Just what am I thinking; why am I thinking it; who will benefit; when will it be validated; what is its purpose; and where shall I be, psychically, morally, spiritually, physically, and fiscally by the time I've made the decision? Of them all, that last is most often the stumbling block. Can I afford it?

The choices we make define our moments. We live within our predilections. If I choose to buy this thing then the money I apportion to it cannot also be shared among other things. So too for my very energy. And when I decide to spend my resources on this, instead of that, then I must content myself that my choice suffices in the moment, or I shall live with a constant regret. Once the toaster has been purchased, best not to keep checking the prices of other toasters! One would soon be toast indeed, ha!

Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration has it that there are five fundamental stages of developmental thinking, or states of being, through which we progress, or not. First stage is the choosing of left or right. Even within those fundamental choices we fall into two factored camps. In factor one we are entirely self-serving; or at a factor two level we continuously choose between the lesser of two evils, the higher of two goods. Whatever choices we make, in a stage two state of being we are constantly insecure, neurotic even, and vulnerable. In stage three we are secure with who we are, and are concerned for and complementary toward the whole. In stage four we are considerate and compassionate and fulfilled without need for the approbation of others. In stage five we are utterly selfless. Problem is, Dabrowski  contends that the vast majority of mankind cannot get past stage one, factor two. Vacillation, vociferous or not, is at the root of our very existence.

To be or not to be? To go or not to go? To phone, write, speak out, contact, make reference, purchase this or that, spend on this rather than that, order this and not that, or to be inviolable? We are creatures of choice. The depth at which we make these choices is up to us. Who, what, where, why, how, when, and with whom attends us, or not. Sometimes we just throw all caution to the winds.

As for me? I shall arise and go now, and go to Innesfree. There I shall, a moment by a moment, make my way. And now, as for thee?

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